Politics

Politics
4:42 pm
Thu March 24, 2011

Senate Finance Committee Eases Budget Cuts

A state senate committee approved a smaller cut in education spending in the new state budget.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News.

The Senate Finance Committee added $5.7 billion to its budget proposal today.  The adjustment was approved with a 13-2 vote.

Just yesterday, the House Appropriations committee $8 billion in education cuts.

In anticipation of the cuts in state support for education, school districts have already begun laying off teachers but legislators are still tinkering with measures that could avoid massive layoffs statewide.

Here’s a rundown of what’s included in the Senate proposal:

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Politics
12:44 pm
Thu March 24, 2011

Testimony Begins on State House Redistricting

Lawmakers are hard a work drawing new State House maps.
Map courtesy Texas Legislative Council

The House Redistricting Committee has begun taking testimony on what the state's new House district map should look like. Based on 2010 Census data it looks like rural West Texas is going to lose representation. While the population growth in South and Central Texas counties means those areas will gain a few seats.

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Politics
12:12 pm
Thu March 24, 2011

Voter ID Clears the Texas House

A bill that would require voters to show ID at the polls is one step closer to the Governor's desk.
Photo by KUT News

After years of Republican attempts and procedural blocks by Democrats, a voter ID bill has passed the Texas House and Senate.  The bill passed the House on 3rd reading today on a 101-48 vote.  Today's debate and vote took just minutes, compared to the 11 hours the House spent debating amendments Wednesday.  The bill now goes back to the Senate.  That chamber can either agree with the House changes to the bill or ask for a conference committee to work out the differences.

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Politics
1:51 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

Procedural Delays Mark Voter ID Debate

The vote ID bill is one step closer to the governor's desk.
Photo by KUT News

UPDATE, 11:07 p.m.:

After nearly 12 hours of debate, about a dozen "points of order" and more than 60 amendments the House has given initial approval of a voter ID bill.  The highly partisan bill has one more vote in the House before heading to a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill.  Democrats have tried to block the bill for several years, saying it could lead to voter suppression among minority voters.  As the debate finally wrapped up Republicans had four of the party's Hispanic members speak in favor of the bill.

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Politics
12:37 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

The Budget Bill Heads to the House

Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts will bring the budget to the floor on April 1st.
The Texas Tribune

The House Budget Bill is on its way to the full House for a vote.  

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Politics
4:57 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Michael Williams to Resign from Commission for Senate

Texas Rilroad Commissioner Micahel Williams announced that he will resign on April 2 for the 2012 Senate race.
Image Courtesy of Bexar Republican http://www.flickr.com/photos/bexarrepublican/

Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams told The Associated Press he’s planning to resign from his current position April 2 to enter the 2012 race for the U.S. Senate.

Williams started his career in the Commission in 1998 when he was appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush. His biography also introduces him as “the first African American in Texas history to hold an executive statewide elected post.”

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Politics
12:48 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Voter ID Debate Begins in the Texas House

The highly partisan bill is expected to pass the Texas House this week
picture by KUT

UPDATE, 1:50 p.m.:  A point of order on Voter ID bill has been sustained. The bill is headed back to committee for a clean-up. The language in the bill said "Days"; the bill's analysis said "Business Days," so the bill was sent back to clarify the discrepancy.

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Politics
11:51 am
Mon March 21, 2011

Bill Would Welcome Banner Ads On State Government Websites

HB 682 would allow state websites, like the Texas Education Agency's, to carry banner ads.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

As state lawmakers continue to brainstorm ideas for generating revenue to close a budget gap as large as $27 billion, one proposal suggests putting banner advertisements on state government websites. House Bill 682 would allow state agencies, departments, boards and commissions - except higher education institutions - to lease advertising space on their websites.

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Politics
4:24 pm
Fri March 18, 2011

Dan Neil Pulls Out of HD-48 Race

Dan Neil
Photo from Dan Neil's campaign website. http://www.texansfordan.com/

Dan Neil has withdrawn from the battle for Texas House District 48. 

In a statement released this afternoon, Neil said,

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Politics
2:34 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

Federal Healthcare Law Unwelcome in House Committee

Texas Lawmakers Have Ideas to Keep the Healthcare Law Out of Texas
Texas Tribune

The Texas House Committee on State Sovereignty took up a handful of bills today - all with the stated goal of protecting Texas from the Federal Healthcare law.  The bills use different tactics to nullify the federal law.  With one by Rep.

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Politics
2:17 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Busy Day Under the Dome

The Texas Capitol is abuzz with activity this afternoon.
Image by Liang Shi for KUT News.

A pair of House committee hearings are attracting a lot of interest at the State Capitol this afternoon.

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to take up debate on whether to tap the state's Rainy Day Fund to help fill the budgetary shortfall facing Texas for the current fiscal year.  Thanh Tan of KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, tells us the committee room is packed. 

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Politics
9:25 am
Wed March 9, 2011

Former Speaker Craddick Falls at Committee Hearing

Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland)
Photo by KUT News

Former Speaker Tom Craddick fell to the ground during a House Transportation committee hearing this morning at the Capitol.  The Dallas Morning News is reporting Craddick was at the meeting to lay out his bill banning texting while driving when he apparently fainted and fell to the ground.

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Politics
1:58 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Former City Council Member Max Nofziger To Challenge Randi Shade

Max Nofziger, a former council member from 1987 to 1996, returns. He will run in the city council election scheduled on May 14, 2011.
KUT News

Michael “Max” Nofziger, who was a former council member from 1987 to 1996 and a well-known flower salesman, will run for the 2011 City Council election. He will have to unseat incumbent Randi Shade, who is running for re-election.  Shade is also facing challenges from Kris Bailey and Chris Nielsen.

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Politics
2:45 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

House Passes Sonogram Bill

The House gives final passage to sonogram bill
picture by KUT

The Texas House easily passed a controversial sonogram/abortion bill on 3rd reading today.  The bill now goes back to the Senate.  Senators there can either agree with the House changes to the bill or ask for a House/Senate conference committee to hammer out the differences.  The committee is the most likely route.  The bill would require all women to view a sonogram and hear the fetus heartbeat before having

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Politics
4:29 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

Is There a Cost to the Abortion Sonogram Bill?

Lawmakers debate the abortion sonogram bill.
Photo by KUT

Last night the Texas House gave initial approval to the abortion sonogram bill by a 103-42 vote. House Bill 15 requires a woman seeking an abortion to receive a sonogram within 24-hours before the procedure. The bill would also require to show the image of the fetus while explaining to the patient what's on the screen and playing the audio of the heartbeat.  

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Politics
5:18 pm
Thu March 3, 2011

House Continues Debate on Sonogram Bill Amendments

Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston proposes an amendment to kill the sonogram bill.
Photo by Ryland Barton/ KUT.

The debate over HB 15—which would require physicians to provide a detailed description of a fetus to its would-be mother—continues to drag through the House this afternoon as Democrats put up a gaggle of amendments and arguments against the bill.

The bill is expected to be approved by the House sometime this evening.

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Politics
12:40 pm
Thu March 3, 2011

House Expected to Take Up Sonogram Bill Again Today

Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels thanks GOP support from New Braunfels.
Photo by Ryland Barton/KUT.

Today the so-called "Sonogram Bill" returns to the Texas House, after being sent back to committee yesterday by Democrats. House Democrats took issue with a technicality in how the bill moved from the State Affairs committee to the full House. Barring additional delays, the House is expected to vote on the Bill today.

The bill is one of five pieces of emergency legislation that are being fast-tracked through the Capitol. Pro-choice advocates probably don’t have the votes to stall the bill any longer; though it’s possible more procedural stalling could ensue.

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Politics
4:28 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Capitol Press Corps Twitter-pated Over Governor Perry's Block

Gov. Perry celebrates on Election Night
Picture by KUT News

Here's a story that's been around the world and back again in just a couple of days.  

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2012 Presidential Election
1:18 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Gov. Perry Lags Behind in Tea Party 2012 Straw Poll

Gov. Perry talking at 2010 State GOP convention
Picture courtesy The Texas Tribune

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Governor Rick Perry didn't fair very well in a Presidential straw poll taken over the weekend at a Tea Party event in Arizona. 

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